Picture Book Author & IllustratorPaddy Donnelly

Wee Rockets for iPad/iPhone

Nothing beats the excitement of creating your own products. After tossing around many app ideas with iOS developer extraordinaire Alain Hufkens, we decided that we wanted to make an iPad game for kids. And we did. We made Wee Rockets.

The idea of building your own rocket and flying it through space seemed like it had the right level of creativity, variety, fun (for both kids and us) and we knew that we could reach that benchmark of making a decent app without it being too over complicated.

The Challenges

Designing apps and sites is one thing, but designing for young children is a completely different kettle of fish. In the early stages we set out some ground rules. The app would have no text so that even the youngest kids could play intuitively, regardless of their language. We had to make sure that it was clear what kids had to do within the app, so adding plenty of animation and having tappable items indicate their tappability with a wiggle was something to watch out for. We started with it first on iPad, perfect for clumsy little fingers to manoeuvre the rockets. While we wanted to have some intro screens and animations to pull kids into the game's 'story', we didn't want them to be stuck on a screen with a play button before they could play, so getting straight into the action screens was another important factor.

One of the design principles I live by is to do one thing and do it well. We set a certain target for us to hit before we would submit it to the App Store. While we have an endless list of potential features for the game, we wanted to get a product out there, get some kids using it, gather feedback and then gradually iterate on it and sneaking in those features. So many projects are too ambitious from the beginning and end up a bloated, diluted mess and we had a strict vision for what Wee Rockets would be.

What other people are saying

Check out Alain's write-up of the project, and here's a few blog reviews of the app from iPad4Kids, The iPhone Mom and The iKids Blog.

We're continuing to work on updates for Wee Rockets, and have just added some new rockets, animal astronauts and it now works on the iPhone too!

We're so happy to say that Wee Rockets made it to #1 in the 'Kids' category in the Belgian App Store!

Download Wee Rockets

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